The Marlins were in on Starling Marte right up until the centerfielder signed the four-year, $78MM deal to join the Mets, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter). The Marlins made a “strong” offer, but not one that matched the Mets’ financial commitment, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (via Twitter). The Marlins weren’t the only team to be outbid by the Mets, who flexed their financial might to ink not only Marte, but Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter).
Centerfield remains one of the Marlins’ biggest needs, though they may need to get creative now that Marte is off the board. Utility gem Chris Taylor is the only inspiring option remaining on the free agent board with significant experience manning center. The rest of the field consists of veteran names more likely to be seen as backups. This group includes Brett Gardner, Joc Pederson, Billy Hamilton, Ender Inciarte, Odubel Herrera, Jake Marisnick, Brian Goodwin, and a few others.
If the season began today, the Marlins would have Bryan De La Cruz, Lewis Brinson, and Monte Harrison as their primary options. De La Cruz, 24, would be Plan A after putting together a strong showing in the second half of 2021. The right-handed hitter slashed .296/.356/.427 in 219 plate appearances after being acquired from the Astros along with Austin Pruitt in exchange for reliever Yimi Garcia.
With De La Cruz proving at least capable of manning the middle, the Marlins are also exploring the addition of corner bats. Nick Castellanos is a name they like, despite his potentially chunky price tag, per Jon Heyman of the MLB Network (via Twitter). Castellanos’ big bat would certainly provide a much-needed boost to Miami’s lineup, though it would be a touch surprising to see the slugger end up in Miami, given the presumed price point for his services.